Thomas Henry Huxley

huxley
The publication of the Darwin and Wallace papers in 1858, and still more that of the ‘Origin’ in 1859, had the effect upon them of the flash of light, which to a man who has lost himself in a dark night, suddenly reveals a road which, whether it takes him straight home or not, certainly goes his way. That which we werelooking for, and could not find, was a hypothesis respecting the origin of known organic forms, which assumed the operation of no causes but such as could be proved to be actually at work. We wanted, not to pin our faith to that or any other speculation, but to get hold of clear and definite conceptions which could be brought face to face with facts and have their validity tested. The ‘Origin’ provided us with the working hypothesis we sought.
‘On the Reception of the Origin of Species‘. In F. Darwin (ed.), The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Including an Autobiographical Chapter (1888), Vol 2, 197.
I’m in way too much danger of quoting Huxley way too often. He’s just so damn quotable. Did he ever say anything stupid, ever?
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Charles Darwin

Darwin

There is nothing like geology; the pleasure of the first day’s partridge shooting or first day’s hunting cannot be compared to finding a fine group of fossil bones, which tell their story of former times with almost a living tongue.

Charles Darwin, letter to his sister Catherine, 1834

Charles Darwin

Darwin

“About thirty years ago there was much talk that geologists ought only to observe and not theorize; and I well remember someone saying that at this rate a man might as well go into a gravel-pit and count the stones and describe the colors…how odd it is that anyone would not see that all observation must be for or against some view, if it is to be of any service.”

Charles Darwin, letter to Fawcett, 18 September 1861

I’m a geologist by training, so you might see a few of these.